I was reading this article in the latest edition of Christian Women Online; Living An Authentic Life, and it really got me thinking. If there is one thing I strive to be, it is being faithful to God without losing my sense of personal authenticity. How can I be true to who I was meant to be and still remain essentially the person I am? When I had peer pressure to deal with, it seemed a bit more straightforward.
In August, I moved back home to join my parents in Ministry. I felt led to take a year off law practise to serve in ministry. I have spent most of the past few years living a life tailored to my desires and expectations on life; of course this was more or less coloured by what I had been taught to believe and also by my personal experiences and perception of life. Now I am back under my Parent’s roof and as each day passes, I discover I am not quite the same person I was when I first left home for the University. Which is good…in some ways.
My dad belongs to the school of thought, which believes a woman should not wear trousers. I knew that; I’ve always known that – he is no shrinking violet when it comes to making his opinions known. The thing is, I love trousers – always have, always will. I made him know years ago that I was going to wear trousers (I don’t believe in doing things behind his back); but I also respected the fact that he really and truly did not like it and therefore did not wear trousers at home. But that was OK because most of my visits were short ones. Now however, I am home for the next one year; how do I balance respecting my dad’s wishes and my own personal preferences? There is no choice really, I respect his wishes since I knew the deal when I decided to return. This is just a microcosm of the problem I face.
I want to be true to the person I believe God wants me to be; I want to be true to the values my parents took the time to lovingly instill in me, but most of all, I NEED to be true to the person I have discovered that I am. True to my thoughts; true to my emotions; true in my actions and my speech… I have to be Me. How do I go about being me in a society where there are a hundred and one influences trying to shape me into what they think I should be?
One thing I’ve discovered is that I need to be clear (for myself) on what I believe in. What it is I hold most dear and will not compromise on for anyone. Not wearing trousers – obviously. Then I also need to discover what my purpose in life is, and hold on to that. Melissa Michaels in the article wrote something which really spoke to me; she said:
“the heart of authentic living for me … is creating a life of purpose and living out what I believe. If I don’t commit myself to actually using those pretty rooms to play games with my children or sit down around our table for family dinners, life will pass on by in the chaos of lesser things. And I will miss the opportunities I say I hold the most dear.”
That is it really… I have decided to not sweat the small stuff. However, I am going to hold on as tenaciously as a dog with a bone to the things I feel are important. I only ask for the wisdom to be able to distinguish between the two.